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The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 17 : Elections

Chapter 061 : CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Subchapter 001 : GENERAL PROVISIONS

(Cite as: 17 V.S.A. § 2901)
  • § 2901. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Candidate" means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for State, county, local, or legislative office in a primary, special, general, or local election. An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:

    (A) accepting contributions or making expenditures totaling $500.00 or more;

    (B) filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary or caucus; or

    (C) announcing that the individual seeks an elected position as a State, county, or local officer or a position as Representative or Senator in the General Assembly.

    (2) "Candidate's committee" means the candidate's campaign staff, whether paid or unpaid.

    (3) "Clearly identified," with respect to a candidate, means:

    (A) the name of the candidate appears;

    (B) a photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or

    (C) the identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

    (4) "Contribution" means a payment, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in any election. As used in this chapter, "contribution" shall not include any of the following:

    (A) a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

    (B) services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

    (C) unreimbursed travel expenses paid for by an individual for himself or herself who volunteers personal services to a candidate;

    (D) unreimbursed campaign-related travel expenses paid for by the candidate or the candidate's spouse;

    (E) the use by a candidate or volunteer of his or her own personal property, including offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment;

    (F) the use of a political party's offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment;

    (G) the payment by a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

    (H) documents, in printed or electronic form, including party platforms, single copies of issue papers, information pertaining to the requirements of this title, lists of registered voters, and voter identification information created, obtained, or maintained by a political party for the general purpose of party building and provided to a candidate who is a member of that party or to another political party;

    (I) compensation paid by a political party to its employees whose job responsibilities are not for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

    (J) compensation paid by a political party to its employees or consultants for the purpose of providing assistance to another political party;

    (K) campaign training sessions provided to three or more candidates;

    (L) costs paid for by a political party in connection with a campaign event at which three or more candidates are present; or

    (M) activity or communication designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate.

    (5) "Election" means the procedure whereby the voters of this State or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or to fill a public office or to act on public questions, including voting on constitutional amendments. Each primary, general, special, or local election shall constitute a separate election.

    (6) "Electioneering communication" means any communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate for office and that promotes or supports a candidate for that office or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office, regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates a vote for or against a candidate, including communications published in any newspaper or periodical or broadcast on radio or television or over the Internet or any public address system; placed on any billboards, outdoor facilities, buttons, or printed material attached to motor vehicles, window displays, posters, cards, pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, or other circulars; or contained in any direct mailing, robotic phone calls, or mass electronic or digital communications.

    (7) "Expenditure" means a payment, disbursement, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid, for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates.

    (A) Expenditures may include those expenses that are necessary to allow a candidate to campaign, such as expenses for the care of a dependent family member that are incurred as a direct result of campaign activity.

    (B) As used in this chapter, "expenditure" shall not include any of the following:

    (i) a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

    (ii) services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

    (iii) unreimbursed travel expenses paid for by an individual for himself or herself who volunteers personal services to a candidate; or

    (iv) unreimbursed campaign-related travel expenses paid for by the candidate or the candidate's spouse.

    (8) "Four-year general election cycle" means the 48-month period that begins 38 days after a general election for a four-year-term office.

    (9) "Full name" means an individual's full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.

    (10) "Independent expenditure-only political committee" means a political committee that conducts its activities entirely independent of candidates; does not give contributions to candidates, political committees, or political parties; does not make related expenditures; and is not closely related to a political party or to a political committee that makes contributions to candidates or makes related expenditures.

    (11) "Mass media activity" means a television commercial, radio commercial, Internet advertisement, mass mailing, mass electronic or digital communication, literature drop, newspaper or periodical advertisement, robotic phone call, or telephone bank, that includes the name or likeness of a clearly identified candidate for office.

    (12) "Party candidate listing" means any communication by a political party that:

    (A) lists the names of at least three candidates for election to public office;

    (B) is distributed through public advertising such as broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers, and similar media or through direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, a publicly accessible site on the Internet, or personal delivery;

    (C) treats all candidates in the communication in a substantially similar manner; and

    (D) is limited to:

    (i) the identification of each candidate, with which pictures may be used;

    (ii) the offices sought;

    (iii) the offices currently held by the candidates;

    (iv) the party affiliation of the candidates and a brief statement about the party or the candidates' positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies;

    (v) encouragement to vote for the candidates identified; and

    (vi) information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

    (13) "Political committee" or "political action committee" means any formal or informal committee of two or more individuals or a corporation, labor organization, public interest group, or other entity, not including a political party, that accepts contributions of $1,000.00 or more and makes expenditures of $1,000.00 or more in any two-year general election cycle for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates, influencing an election, or advocating a position on a public question in any election, and includes an independent expenditure-only political committee and a legislative leadership political committee.

    (14) "Political party" means a political party organized under chapter 45 of this title and any committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch, or local unit thereof, and shall be considered a single, unified political party. The national affiliate of the political party shall be considered a separate political party.

    (15) "Public question" means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.

    (16) "Single source" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons that is not a political committee or political party.

    (17) "Telephone bank" means more than 500 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature that are made to the general public within any 30-day period.

    (18) "Two-year general election cycle" means the 24-month period that begins 38 days after a general election.

    (19) "Legislative leadership political committee" means a political committee established by or on behalf of a political party caucus within a chamber of the General Assembly. (Added 2013, No. 90 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 23, 2014; amended 2015, No. 49, § 9; 2017, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 16, 2018; 2021, No. 8, § 1, eff. April 13, 2021; 2021, No. 8, § 1, eff. April 13, 2021.)